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The Forty Sieges of Constantinople (Hardback)

The Great City's Enemies and Its Survival

Ancient History Military

By John D Grainger
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 304
Illustrations: 8pp colour plates
ISBN: 9781399090278
Published: 30th June 2022


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The great city of Byzantion/Constantinople/Istanbul stands on a commanding cape overlooking a busy waterway. It has been the target of repeated attempts to capture it for the past two and a half millennia. Most of these attacks failed, but some did so in spectacular fashion, such as the great Arab sieges. The inhabitants fought hard in almost every siege, with the result that when the city was captured it was also destroyed, or at least suffered a hideous sack. Almost every nation between the Atlantic and the Steppes of Asia have made attempts to capture the city, some repeatedly but only a few - a Roman emperor, the Crusaders, the Turks - have succeeded. And there is no sign that some have given up the hope of taking it - the last sieges were just before and then during the Great War, by the Bulgars, and then by the Allies, who got no closer than Gallipoli, but the city had to submit to enemy occupation when the empire it ruled collapsed. It is still surrounded by envious neighbours, who wish to control it. The city has been besieged forty times, and has been captured on three or four occasions; it cannot be said to be safe yet. It is still 'The City of the World's Desire'.

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About John D Grainger

JOHN D GRAINGER is a former teacher and historian of great experience with a particular interest in Classical and Hellenistic Greek history. His many previous works include the following for Pen & Sword: Hellenistic and Roman Naval Wars (2011); The Wars of the Maccabees (2012); Roman Conquests: Egypt and Judaea (2013); a three-part history of the Seleukid Empire (2014-16), King’s and Kingship in the Hellenistic World 350-30 BC (2017), Antipater’s Dynasty (2018), Ancient Dynasties (2019, The Roman Imperial Succession (March 2020), The Straits from Troy to Constantinople (2021) and The Forty Sieges of Constantinople (2022). He lives in Evesham, Worcestershire.

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